Holed Up

SATURDAY, SUNDAY, MONDAY — The Big Hole

Word was out that we officially had a LARGE addition to our family.  Since our tiny Island can be a breeding ground for rumours, especially since I work in a social hub where a few overheard sentences can be misconstrued, we had kept the possibility of acquiring this boat to ourselves.  Now that it was official, everyone we knew on the Island popped down to the boatworks to see if it was for real.  We welcomed the feedback, and offered help, as we’re definitely rookies, and surrounded by a lot of veterens.  Some time was lost in giving tours and verbal updates.

Priority was properly fixing this patch.  Now that Damon had busted out the afore(post)mentioned hole to start fresh, it was extremely important that the job was done properly.  Damon had taken initiative, while we were in discussion about acquiring the Someday Lady, to educate himself using online information and forums where he posed many questions to ferro-cement boat owners and experts worldwide.   This information was key, as it dictated the following steps and products.

Tied in Rebar, as seen from the inside

To be safer than sorry, we had someone spot-weld at all the intersections. 

Inside out -- Tied in re-bar, about to be welded

Then two layers of chicken wire is tied in on either side of the re-bar.  Damon, as a perfectionist, was very thorough in tying in, and was very happy to tie in the last of what felt like five-million twist-ties at the end of it.    It made a very nice, secure frame.

Finished and prepped wire frame from the inside

Finished and prepped wire frame

And I, at my other job Friday and Saturday, was so excited to receive a picture text after each shift of what looked like a world of accomplishment each day!

Re-bar and chicken wire form from the outside

As you can see, Damon also ground down the existing cement surrounding the hole to create a gradient, and allow for the new cement to overlap without creating a bulge.   In order for the new cement to stick, a we used a cement bonding agent.   The agent was mixed with proper proportions of water and put into a spray bottle for easy and thorough application.  We chose to apply it directly to the wire meshing and surrounding cement rather than adding it to our cement mix.  Adding the bonding agent into the mix is fabulous, but it would slow down the curing process.  As we’re prepping the boat to be fully ready for summer, putting it on dry-dock while in the off-season gives us much much more affordable rates, and some bumper time should we come across any adverse challenges requiring more time than budgeted – we’re not governed by a schedule of back to back bookings for the dry dock use.  Still, we were only hoping to be out of the water for a week.  Thus, longing curing times hold up the other processes of applying an epoxy patch over it and painting.

Mixing and applying the cement mixture was a nerve-wracking task.  As I was little use, Damon only had himself to rely on to mix and carefully push the cement through the meshing without having any air bubbles.  We were supremely relieved when a work colleague showed up to lend a hand.  Literally.

Two-man job of encasing wire frame in cement

First round of cement from the inside, carefully inserted to ensure no airbubbles and that it stays put!!

While he worked on the outside, and Damon on the inside, they defied gravity and encased the wire meshing.  Once finished in the application, Damon smoothed the outside surface with hands to get the perfect finish he was aiming for.

Outside wire half cemented

Careful 2-person job of cementing the wire frame

Smoothing and working from the outside

We set up tarps around it to keep the cold wind off it, kept it constantly misted with water, and had a construction light shining on it to keep the chill off it.  Inside was misted as well, and there was already a small space heater warming the air.  While letting this set awhile, Damon cleaned up and re-cemented the bottom of the keel, mostly to protect any exposed metal, and preventing any further damage until next year when we’d apply a steel shoe down the entire length of the keel.

Having allowed the initial area to set a bit and gain some strength Damon applied a layer of bonding agent and a skim coat of cement on both the outside and inside of the large patch.  This time using a trowel to smooth it out while giving it additional strength; strong AND pretty!

It had to be SO perfect that into the evening he worked

.......and worked.

A long day for him.  The patch had to stay hydrated, so I bundled up, brought a book, thermos of coffee and my cell phone alarm clock, misted the patch every half hour all through the night.  Since my painting skills were not going to come in handy in the cold temps, it was finally something I could do to make sure all of Damon’s hard work didn’t come undone overnight.

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About madlav

We're living our dream. Nestled in the Inside Passage of British Columbia's stunning Coastal region, we've just taken possession of a beautiful (to us) 45' ferro cement hulled sailboat. Ripped from her mooring during one of our strong storms and run aground, she encountered the only large rock on the beach. Today, she floats. With a temporary patch over the gouge, and tarps over her hatches, a broken rudder, missing wheelhouse, and stripped of pride, the Someday Lady is a battered boat. Optimists and visionaries, we believe that together we can restore the Someday Lady's original splendor, and make our home in her berth. Someday Lady, THIS is our journey!!
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